The intensive construction phase of the new passenger departure terminal of Vilnius Airport, which began this year, will bring another convenient innovation to passengers in the future – 2 new telescopic passenger boarding bridges that will be installed, and the modernization of the current ones. An international public procurement has been already announced for the selection of bridge modernization and purchasing partners. It is planned to sign a contract by July, and the installation of the new telescopic passenger boarding bridges will be completed by the beginning of 2025.
Currently, there are 5 passenger boarding bridges (so-called “gate sleeves”) used at Vilnius Airport. All of them will be modernized within three years, and two new ones will be installed in the future terminal.
According to Giedrius Paulikaitis, the Head of the Technology Development Department at Lithuanian Airports, this is a necessary stage of the airport’s modernization, which will allow to further improve the passenger experience and expand the operational capabilities of the airport.
“This bridge modernization project will become a big step forward in ensuring comfort and convenience for passengers at the airport. After the installation of the new departure terminal, Vilnius Airport will be able to serve 7-8 million passengers per year, therefore, by renovating the bridges and equipping new ones, we are investing in better passenger experience, the comfort of the specialists working here, and opportunities for the development of airline services,” said Paulikaitis.
Today, the length of the passenger boarding bridges used at Vilnius Airport is 23 to 27 meters when fully expanded, and the weight of a bridge amounts to approximately 22 tons. The cost of the use of a passenger boarding bridge at Vilnius Airport is 33 euros per servicing of one aircraft.
Will be used for another 15 years
The Head of the Technology Development Department at Lithuanian Airports also noted that the bridges used in the Lithuanian capital’s airport still perform their function, however, due to their age and wear and tear, renovation works are needed.
The beginning of the use of two bridges dates back to 1998, of the remaining four - to 2008. And although due to good maintenance, the bridges function well and meet the most important requirements, additional challenges arise, for example, there is a limited supply of spare parts on the market, the repair of these galleries is quite expensive and complicated, and the repair downtime is longer.
“It is very important that the modernization works will extend the life cycle of the existing bridges by approximately 15 years, the availability of spare parts and easier maintenance will be ensured, and the risk of breakdowns will be reduced. In addition, after the installation of LED lighting and new generation mechanical devices, the bridges will be less demanding in terms of electricity consumption, since increased energy efficiency by modernizing the airport infrastructure is one of the essential criteria for us”, noted Paulikaitis when talking about the process.
It is being planned that already this summer, the supplier will start updating the technical equipment of the currently used telescopic passenger boarding bridges – the chassis, power supply modules, cockpit stairways, floor coverings, interior lighting, control panels, visual aircraft approach navigation systems, etc. In addition, the visual and aesthetic condition of the bridges will be improved.
“The most important priority in airports is security, therefore it is especially important that the renovated bridges will allow us to take care of it even better. More sensors aimed at protecting an aircraft from damage will be installed as well as additional cameras showing the bridge environment to the operator, slip-resistant flooring, etc. In addition, new visual aircraft approach navigation systems will be installed, which can work under various weather conditions, for example, even in case of fog or heavy rain pilots will be able to see what will be shown on the screens”, Paulikaitis listed the technological innovations aimed at the increase of safety.
The passenger boarding bridge renovation project will also increase the operational capacity of Vilnius Airport. This will be a result of not only the expansion of the bridge fleet but also of the variety of their types - the new and renovated bridges will be able to serve larger numbers of aircraft of more diverse types.
All the latest information about the new Vilnius Airport terminal, which will start serving the first passengers at the beginning of 2025, is available at www.vilnius-airport.lt/en/before-the-flight/new-departure-terminal
Official video presentation of the new terminal of Vilnius Airport: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqXLkHsvJxY&